Rice Cooker for low wattage cooking - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-15-2019, 10:44:PM Thread Starter
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Rice Cooker for low wattage cooking

I want to supplement my open flame cook stove with electrical cooking for occasional use inside the van without open flame. My inverter is only 500 watts, so microwave or hot plate is out. I'm thinking a rice cooker might work. They're designed to boil water & steam food, rather than slow cook. The small ones are 300 - 400 watts, so roughly 3 amps, about twice the power of a small crock pot. A convenient way to heat water, boil an egg, make a small one-pot meal. Anyone tried this?

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-15-2019, 10:58:PM
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Lots of folks. Look into the small Instapots. Pressure cookers use the bulk of their energy needs coming to pressure, then majority of the cook time is very low power for pressure maintenance. Many folks use a small liquid fuel burner to preheat a dish then transfer to a pressure cooker.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-15-2019, 11:12:PM
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After reading about @Truck using the InstantPot Duo Mini for a wide variety of meal prep I picked one up for the van. Have used it in the kitchen a few times and hope to use it in the van soon.


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-15-2019, 11:29:PM Thread Starter
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I'm familiar with the advantages of pressure cookers, but the 3 quart Instant Pot Duo is 700 watts, too much for my inverter. I haven't found any pressure cooker instant pots at 400 - 500 watts. Same for hot plates. Hence the rice cooker idea.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 05:04:AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perchancetodream View Post
I want to supplement my open flame cook stove with electrical cooking for occasional use inside the van without open flame. My inverter is only 500 watts, so microwave or hot plate is out. I'm thinking a rice cooker might work. They're designed to boil water & steam food, rather than slow cook. The small ones are 300 - 400 watts, so roughly 3 amps, about twice the power of a small crock pot. A convenient way to heat water, boil an egg, make a small one-pot meal. Anyone tried this?
400 watts is ~28 amps @ 14 vdc, not 3 amps.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 07:49:AM
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Originally Posted by perchancetodream View Post
I'm familiar with the advantages of pressure cookers, but the 3 quart Instant Pot Duo is 700 watts, too much for my inverter. I haven't found any pressure cooker instant pots at 400 - 500 watts. Same for hot plates. Hence the rice cooker idea.
Consider how the physics of bringing water to a boil and keeping it at a set temperature over a period of time will be a constant that will be divided across volts, amps and time. Most household 120VAC cookers that can do this job will likely exceed the inverter spec you have selected. A device that operates at a lower wattage will take a longer time to bring to temperature and may be more wasteful of the energy stored in the house battery over the cooking time.

You may be better off at this point looking at 12 volt Rice Cookers or Slow Cookers and avoid using the inverter at all for this task. This would be more conservative of the battery as the losses from the inverter would be eliminated.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 09:05:AM
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There are many 12 volt slow/rice cookers. I can't post links, but just go to Amazon and search for "12 volt rice cooker" and you'll find many options less than $40.

Hope that helps.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 10:35:AM Thread Starter
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Small rice cookers (3 - 4 cups dry rice --> 6 - 8 cup pot) generally are in the 300 - 500 watt range. This 300 watt one from Aroma looks good with stainless steel instead of non-stick aluminum pot:
https://www.amazon.com/Aroma-Simply-.../dp/B007TNXYYA


The 12V cookers are typically 100 - 150 watts, not powerful enough.


A 500 watt hot plate would be more versatile. A single burner unit in 120VAC seems unobtainable, but I found this dual burner unit 500 / 1000 watt at Target: https://www.target.com/p/kitchen-sel...2/-/A-10386186
Use the 500 watt side on the inverter, both sides on shore power. Open burners are less efficient for cooking than an enclosed pot unit, but will heat any kind of pot / pan. Just label the controls SHORE / BATTERY.



But I think my inverter might be unhappy with a continuous 500 watt load. These are the inverter specs:
  • Cont. power at 25°C (nonlinear load, crest factor 3:1): 500VA
  • Cont. power at 25°C / 40°C: 400 / 350W
  • Peak power: 900W

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 10:39:AM
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Get at 750W inverter? Or go all the way with a 1KW inverter and the Insta-Pot?

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 11:05:AM
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Perchancetodream; I think you'd be money and time ahead to just get a cheap 1000w inverter for your electric cooking needs. Under $100 at Harbor Freight; MSW inverters are perfectly fine for household appliances, and to supply AC to power adapters. I use a $40 750w inverter for my AC needs, but I'm not cooking or heating with it. I've had it for almost 10 years now, maybe longer; **** cheap Chinese junk! 🤣
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